Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk will lead the defense again when the Reds take on Villarreal in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final today (April 27).
Ahead of the game, Villarreal striker Arnaut Danjuma revealed he was looking forward to going up against one of the best defenders in world football.
It should be noted that Van Dijk and Danjuma are teammates in the Netherlands national team, with the Liverpool man being the current team captain. Because of this, the striker believes his showdown at Anfield today will be special.
He told ESPN (as quoted by Football Oranje):
“You always want to compete at the highest level and improve there. Playing against Virgil is even more special because, of course, he’s also my captain in the Dutch national team. And you won’t find a better defender than Virgil.”
“For me, it’s a great opportunity to show myself again against the best players in the world.”
Arnaut Danjuma is enjoying a prolific run in the Champions League this season, having netted six goals and one assist for Villarreal in 10 appearances so far.
The striker says his numbers prove he can damage opposing defenses and is eager to see what he can do against Virgil van Dijk and Liverpool today.
“So far so good. My stats and what I’ve shown show I can do some damage. I have the qualities to compete with the best players in the world. But I have to keep delivering.”
The 25-year-old added:
“The first step is to prove yourself, the second is to stay consistent. I’m really looking forward to fighting Virgil.”
Can Villarreal outclass Virgil van Dijk and Liverpool today?
Villarreal sent a huge message across Europe when they edged past Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals this season. Before that, they knocked out Juventus in the round of 16 in March.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from the Yellow Submarines this season, it’s that they aren’t afraid of anyone.
That said, Liverpool present a whole different challenge. The Reds are arguably the best big game players in the world right now. Can Villarreal evolve? Only time will tell.